University Foot and Ankle Institute, California’s Orthotic Experts
After manufacturing over 100,000 pairs of orthotics in the last 10 years, the doctors of University Foot and Ankle Institute have expert advice and information to help with the decision making of orthotic manufacturing and device type. Custom molded orthotics have been used for the last century to support many different ailments of the foot, ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. Orthotics are foot support devices that aid in controlling the motion of the foot and ankle during the walking and the gait cycle.
The purpose of an orthotic device is to hold the foot in a certain position while controlling the amount of motion the joints go through during the gait cycle also know as the walking cycle. Orthotics are used for many different problems from very simple deformities to more complex abnormalities and major deformities like ankle deformities from diabetes.
In the past, custom orthotics were only used for those patients with painful flat feet. However, they are now used for many other problems including high arched feet, knee, hip, and even back pain. Furthermore, different regions of the foot can be loaded or offloaded to increase or decrease pressure on specific regions of the foot which may take to much weight or not enough weight. Many different foot problems and pathologies are caused by poor foot position or alignment and can be dramatically improved with use of custom molded orthotics.
Common Problems Treated with Custom Orthotics:
- Pes Planus (painful flat foot)
- Pes Cavus (painful high arch)
- Chronic joint pain about the foot and ankle
- Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain)
- Arthritis of the foot or ankle
- Hammer Toes (buckled toes)
- Neuroma (nerve pain in the forefoot)
- Bunion Deformity
- Hammer Toes
- Sesamoiditis (pain in the sole of the big toe)
- Forefoot Varus or Valgus (deformities of the forefoot)
- Heel Varus or Valgus (malposition of the heel)
- Pronation (increased flattening motion of the foot)
- Supination (lack of motion in the foot)
- Ankle Instability
- Knee instability
- Knee tendonitis
- Lower back pain
How Custom Orthotics are Made:
The making of orthotics is as much art as technology. It is essential to perform a complete foot and ankle exam and check foot position prior to manufacturing of orthotics. The University Foot and Ankle Institute will perform a gait analysis and examination of the foot and then determine the proper type of orthotic based on your foot type, pathology, activity level and shoe type.
There are several ways to take an impression of the foot in order to make a custom molded orthotic. Some physicians will have the patient stand on a scanning device to that will scan the bottom of the foot. Some physicians will have the patient place their foot into a foam box in order to take an impression of the bottom of the foot. Although these techniques are easy and less costly to perform for the physician they are less accurate and less efficient.
The most reliable and accurate method of capturing the patient’s foot impression is by taking a plaster mold of the foot, This is performed in a off weight situation, holding the foot in the desired functional position while the plaster hardens. The physician is then able to place the foot in the exact position that they feel is needed for the particular diagnosis. The plaster cast then has captured the position of the foot exactly. This mold is then sent to a leading manufacturer with the specific instructions and prescription for the desired correction of the patient’s foot.
When the orthotics are ready the patient will return to the office to be fitted with the orthotics in the shoes. Another gait analysis will be performed to be certain the orthotics are performing the desired effect. There will be an initial break in period during the first week of use. After this period of getting used to the orthotics, full use of the device is advised in all shoes in which the device fits. The patient will keep the molds of the orthotics in case additional pairs are needed. The molds are simply sent to the manufacturer with a new prescription without the need for new impressions.
Every situation and every foot requires a different amount of control and positioning. At the same time, every foot has a unique arch and foot type.
For these reasons, custom orthotics are significantly more appropriate than over the counter type arch supports. There are several different types of shoe orthotics from those for athletic running shoes to those that are very thin used for dress shoes.
The California orthotics specialists and doctors of University Foot and Ankle Institute are proud to be affiliated with multiple health organizations and are the preferred foot and ankle providers of UCLA Medical Group. Our doctors are board certified or board qualified by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Come to UFAI when you are looking for a good ankle doctor in Los Angeles.
Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),
Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
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